The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT or the Department) is completing preliminary engineering and environmental studies (Phase I) for the improvement of Interstate 80 (I-80) from Ridge Road to US 30. Two studies were performed which included the long-term study and near-term study of I-80. An explanation of each study is provided below.
The long-term preliminary engineering and environmental study of I-80 evaluated the existing as well as future needs of the corridor. The long-term study needs were identified as: and improvement of safety for all users, improvement of regional and local travel and access, and improvement of facility condition and design. A Project Working Group (PWG) meeting was conducted on September 19, 2013 and again on December 5, 2017 to present the range of alternatives to project stakeholders and seek their input. A public meeting was held on January 31, 2018 to present the range of alternatives and seek input from the public. The alternatives were further evaluated and screened and a preferred alternative was developed. The preferred alternative was presented to the PWG on June 12, 2019, and was presented at a public hearing in November 2019.
A near-term preliminary engineering and environmental (Phase I) study has been prepared. This study identified potential near-term pavement, structural, and safety needs in addition to operational improvements which would extend the useful life of the Interstate and improve safety. Proposed improvements include structure rehabilitation and/or replacement, pavement reconstruction, and safety improvements. Portions of these near-term improvements are funded for construction in the Department’s Multi-Year Highway Improvement Program.
IDOT acts as the lead agency for preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the I-80 project. Throughout the study, IDOT worked closely with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to ensure that National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements were satisfied. As such, FHWA and IDOT are the ultimate decision-makers for this project.
The long-term I-80 study utilized the Department’s Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) process to engage the public and solicit their opinions and ideas on improvements that they see as necessary within the project corridor. CSS is a collaborative approach that involves all stakeholders. This approach helps to develop a design that fits into its surroundings and preserves scenic, aesthetic, historic, and environmental resources while maintaining safety and mobility. Public involvement was strongly encouraged during the phase I study and the study team proactively sought stakeholder involvement and partnerships.
Stakeholders for a project include any person or organization which has an interest or stake in the project being considered. This can be anything from a small group of residents and businesses affected by the redesign of a rural intersection to thousands of individuals when a major roadway or transit extension is being built. Stakeholders can include residents and landowners near a project, advocates for policy, community and historic interests, elected officials, government agencies, users of the facility, and many others.
Yes, residential displacements are anticipated to be necessary. This is due to the shift in the alignment of I-80 to the north at the Des Plaines River crossing between the Center Street and Chicago Street Interchanges. Click here to view potential property displacement map.
The preliminary engineering and environmental studies for improvements to I-80 from Ridge Road to US 30 along with some near-term improvements including the reconstruction of I-80 structures and pavement from east of Chicago Street to the Wisconsin Central Railroad/Rowell Street was included in earlier Multi-year Highway Improvement Programs. The balance of the improvements along I-80 from Ridge Road to US 30 are included in the current Multi-year Highway Improvement Program and are funded through the Rebuild Illinois Capital Program including reconstruction of the entire corridor, interchange improvements and structure replacement including the structure carrying I-80 over the Des Plaines River.
Questions and comments can be submitted online via the I-80 website at: Let's Talk! or mailed to the below address: Illinois Department of Transportation Bureau of Programming 201 West Center Court Schaumburg, Illinois 60196
The construction contracts will be let, or advertised, following standard IDOT procedures. Contractors pre-qualified in appropriate categories with IDOT would submit bids on advertised contracts. The selection of a successful bidder is based upon the contractor’s prequalification, bonding capacity, bid amount, completeness of bid, financial evaluation, and use of disadvantaged and minority business enterprises, among other criteria.
As part of the I-80 long-term phase I study, traffic noise was evaluated for the proposed roadway improvements to determine noise impacts to adjacent properties. For noise abatement measures such as a noise wall to be considered, a receptor must be impacted by the projected noise levels from the proposed project (66 decibel or greater for exterior residential uses). A receptor location is typically an area of frequent outdoor use such as a patio or backyard. The noise wall must then be feasible, effective and reasonable based on the number of receptors receiving substantial traffic noise reduction benefits. This means the noise wall must be constructible, achieve at least a 5 decibel reduction for at least two impacted receptors to be considered a benefited receptor, achieve at least an 8 decibel reduction for at least one benefited receptor location, cost less than $30,000-$45,000 per benefited receptor (depending upon cost adjustments as listed in IDOT policy), and must be supported by greater than 50% of the benefitted receptors. As described above, a benefitted receptor is defined as a resident or property owner that would receive at least a 5 decibel traffic noise reduction or greater as a result of a noise barrier and will be the basis for sending a viewpoint form. This is because the human ear perceives a 5 decibel change in noise as readily perceptible. Based on responses to the viewpoint form, noise abatement measures may or may not be considered for implementation in the project. Feasible and reasonable noise walls were shown at the Public Hearingand may be viewed here.Benefitted receptor viewpoint forms will be sent out in Phase II Design. For additional information regarding traffic noise, regulations and policy, noise analyses, or noise abatement, we encourage you to access the Department’s internet site http://www.idot.illinois.gov/Assets/uploads/files/Doing-Business/Manuals-Guides-&-Handbooks/Highways/Design-and-Environment/Environment/Highway%20Traffic%20Noise%20Assessment%20Manual%202017.pdf .
Under the required provisions of the National Environment Policy Act (NEPA), the impacts of possible improvement alternatives to the surrounding community and environment were be examined. This included the evaluation of the impacts of potential improvements to cross-streets and the local road network.
The land acquisition process begins with a Plat of Highway (Plat of Survey), followed by an independent appraisal, an offer to purchase, and a period of negotiations. The offer to purchase is based on an appraisal report of the fair market value of the right of way that is to be acquired. The appraisal report will be written by an independent fee appraiser (non-IDOT employee) and reviewed by an independent review appraiser. The offer to purchase is presented to land owners to begin the negotiation process which typically lasts from 60-90 days. If the landowner does not agree with the offer to purchase, they may submit a written counteroffer for IDOT’s consideration. Information submitted to support the counteroffer would be reviewed and IDOT will determine if the counteroffer will be accepted or rejected. Once an agreement is reached on the acquisition price, the transaction will take approximately 2-4 months to complete. If agreement cannot be reached, the matter is referred to the courts for resolution. Referring cases to the court for resolution is always the last resort in the land acquisition process for road projects and ultimately the court decides the dispensation of the case, including final compensation to the property owner. Property owners with possible land acquisition were contacted and invited to the Public Hearing to view the exhibits and speak with IDOT personnel.
The detailed project analysis included the evaluation of the effect of any proposed alternatives on the environment. This resulted in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and an extensive environmental review process. The phase I study did not define or preclude construction methods, including the latest ‘green’ innovations
In accordance with the Department’s Highway Traffic Noise Assessment Manual, vibration during construction activities will be monitored closely, including impacts from pile driving, blasting and pavement breaking. If necessary, the Department will implement measures to reduce construction vibration, such as changing the location of construction activities and hours of vibration operations or using alternative construction methods.
This improvement is included in the Department's current Multi-year Highway Improvement Program. This is a 16-mile project and construction will not occur over the entire 16 miles at the same time. Construction will occur in stages, a few miles at a time, and will take at least five years to complete. Regarding the section of I-80 between Center Street and Chicago Street, because it is the most complicated section and has the most land acquisition, it will be the last section constructed, and it is anticipated to occur in the later years of the program.
Potential Property Acquisition and Relocation FAQs
The improvement potentially requires acquisition of 107 properties between Center Street and Chicago Street. This consists of up to 70 occupied residential properties, 33 properties of vacant land, and 4 properties from which only part of the property is needed. One commercial building will be impacted. Ongoing outreach efforts, along with additional engineering analysis, will help to more fully identify property impacts as well as acquisition and relocation needs for the project.
Currently, the Department anticipates that the environmental processes will be complete in early 2022, at which time the Department may begin coordination with potentially displaced residents on acquisition and relocation. The typical duration of the acquisition and relocation process is between 12 and 24 months and will be initiated following completion of these additional outreach efforts and the environmental review process. The Department follows the federal rules and regulations of the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 4601-4655 (referred to as the “Uniform Act”) regarding land acquisition and relocation. Any home to be acquired will undergo an appraisal by an independent certified appraiser. An offer will be presented to the property owner based on fair market value. The Department will work with you to assist in finding comparable housing.
The Department’s policy regarding land acquisition is based on Federal and State laws which require the Department acquire the minimum amount of property necessary to construct and maintain the improvement. The list of identified properties to date has been published and potentially impacted property owners have been notified. If your property is not on the list, it is not necessary for the Department to acquire your property for this project. As final surveys and design are completed, additional properties may be identified. The Illinois State law and the Department’s Land Acquisition Policies and Procedures Manual provide single family residences, situated ten feet or less from the proposed right-of-way line of a highway at a new location, to request to be relocated by the project. The Department has identified and coordinated directly with those property owners identified to qualify for voluntary acquisition. Ongoing outreach efforts, along with additional engineering analysis, will help to more fully identify property impacts as well as acquisition and relocation needs for the project.
Once the Department makes a final determination that it is necessary to purchase private property, the guidelines of the Uniform Act along with State regulations will be followed. The Department will treat property owners fairly and seek cooperative settlements for property acquisitions. You may read about your rights under applicable federal laws here:
Non-owners who rent housing that must be acquired because of the I-80 project are also protected under the Uniform Act, as amended. Tenants occupying a home at the time of acquisition may be eligible for relocation services to assist in finding replacement housing.
Owners of owner-occupied dwellings will be eligible for the Real Estate Tax Mitigation Benefit. Owner-occupied is defined as a property owner, as indicated on the title at the time of offer who resides permanently at the impacted property. To mitigate for the potential impact of potentially higher property taxes, the Department will provide owner(s) of owner-occupied properties a lump sum of up to $52,000 at the time of relocation and for continued home ownership.
As an owner-occupant, you will be entitled to the fair market value for your property as well as all applicable relocation benefits under the guidelines of the Uniform Act. With each step of the process, relocatees will have the support and guidance of the IDOT Bureau of Land Acquisition Team and be entitled to applicable relocation benefits under the guidelines of the Uniform Act.
To minimize or mitigate the impact of possible higher property taxes, the Department will offer to owners of owner-occupied properties a one-time lump sum relief payment within 60 days of the date the resident is relocated. The Department and the Federal Highway Administration are committed to offering this mitigation measure for owner occupied properties displaced by the I-80 improvement.
Yes, because the Real Estate Tax Differential payment is outside the Uniform Act, it will be considered reportable income and therefore is taxable. For this reason, the owner may choose to decline all or part of this benefit.
It is important that recipients of this benefit understand any impacts it may have on their individual or family’s taxes, retirement benefits, or social service benefits or eligibility for state and federal programs. Therefore, owners may want to seek their own tax counseling services to determine if this benefit is right for them. The Department and FHWA are currently working with the Community Service Council of Bolingbrook and other potential services to provide an outside resource for those considering accepting this benefit. Provision for these free services will be finalized and shared with the community as those discussions are finalized with the Department and these potential counseling service providers.